Israel’s War Against Palestine: Documenting the Military Occupation of Palestinian and Arab Lands

September 2010

Obama offered to support the presence of IDF soldiers in the Jordan Valley even after the establishment of a Palestinian state, if Israel would agree to a two month settlement building freeze, in a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Other commitments: no more building freeze extensions, veto any anti-Israel UN Security Council resolution in the next year, future fate of the settlements be dealt with only as part of a final status agreement with the Palestinians.

Thirteen percent of all combat company commanders on active service in the IDF come from settlements … a five-fold over-representation based on their proportion in the general population of Israel.

Israel Defense Forces soldiers used excessive force while taking over a Gaza-bound aid ship organized by Jewish and Israeli activists, flotilla participants said Tuesday, countering the military’s official version claiming that the takeover had been uneventful.

Israeli commandos have boarded and seized a Gaza-bound aid ship of Jewish activists just miles off the Gaza coast. The activists were attempting to deliver a symbolic load of medicine, a water-purifying kit and other humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. The Jewish Boat to Gaza was the latest attempt to break the blockade since Israel’s deadly attack on an aid flotilla in May. In the West Bank, Jewish settlers resumed building settlements on Monday one day after Israel refused to extend its partial freeze on settlement expansion.

With the resumption of settlement construction in the West Bank yesterday, Israel’s powerful settler movement hopes that it has scuttled peace talks with the Palestinians, too. It would be misleading, however, to assume that the major obstacle to the success of talks is the right-wing political ideology the settler movement represents. Equally important are deeply entrenched economic interests shared across Israeli society.

Irish Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire refused to board a UK-bound flight on Tuesday after she was earlier barred by Israeli security from entering the country over her participation in a Gaza-bound aid ship.

[T]he truth is that the settlers know better than anyone else that not only did construction in settlements continue over the last 10 months, and vigorously, but also that a relatively large part of the houses were built on settlements that lie east of the separation fence.

The Irene, a boat carrying nine passengers and aid for Gaza’s population has been taken over by the Israeli navy and denied access to Gaza.

Israeli nationals released and heading home
They have all had their phones confiscated so we have not had contact with them yet, but we have spoken to their family members, who are all very relieved about their imminent safe return. We will get them to contact us as soon as we can.

Yitzhak Laor: Left? “Like”

27 September 2010

Israel’s streets are silent. Supporters of the left can be found mainly on Facebook and on Internet petitions. There you can sign as much as you want and under any name. The political context is not forming the resistance but granting approval to what exists. “Like” – as you say on Facebook when you like something – is the name of the neoliberal game.

Israeli Universities are an intimate part of the Israeli regime, by active choice. While Palestinians are not able to access universities and schools, Israeli universities produce the research, technology, arguments and leaders for maintaining the occupation… By maintaining links to both the Israeli defence forces and the arms industry, BGU structurally supports and facilitates the Israeli occupation.

Bassem Eid, head of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group: “I would like to suggest that General Dayton not just train agents in the use of weapons, beating and torture … but also train them how to behave among their own people.”

A boat carrying aid for Gaza’s population and organized by Jewish groups worldwide has set sail from Cyprus today [26 Sept 2010] at 13:32 local time. The boat, Irene, is sailing under a British flag and is carrying ten passengers and crew, including Jews from the US, the UK, Germany and Israel as well as an Israeli journalist. Among the passengers are Israeli peace activists Rami Elhanan and Yonatan Shapira.

Israeli bloggers have recently released a new Android application that informs users whether their potential purchases were manufactured in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Former US Marine Kenneth O’Keefe was aboard the Mavi Marmara in the Free Gaza flotilla. He witnessed the passengers’ preparations for a clash and the confused takeover by Israel troops that resulted in nine dead.

Although colonists do have a powerful impact on Israeli politics, this is because the majority of the public allows them to… [T]he colonists actually serve a useful function for the Israeli government. Their seeming irrationality and apparent dangerous messianic politics are used to divert attention from the Israeli public’s reluctance to recognize Palestinian rights.

October 2, march on DC with One Nation: March to Rebuild America and End War!

Do you love The Daily Show as much as we do? Maybe like a lot of us, you go to bed with Jon Stewart four nights a week, and find him a fun, smart companion at the end of the day… he included CODEPINK among the “loud folks” getting in the way of civil rhetoric. He also equated progressives calling George Bush a war criminal with right-wingers calling Obama Hitler! Jon, seriously??

A report by the Electronic Intifada covering the most recent BDS activities against Israel’s settlement program.

The BDS campaign continues to pick up steam.

The National Lawyers Guild, in coordination with other legal and grassroots human rights organizations, addressed this letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, calling upon the State Department to act on the case of Ameer Makhoul, Palestinian human rights advocate and leader.

I want [Abdallah Abu Rahma] and other Palestinian grass-roots nonviolent organizers to be free to carry on their political struggle together with Israeli partners and supporters. For the past nine months … Abdallah Abu Rahma has been in detention … because Israel has apparently decided that civic activism, nonviolent protest or any kind of dissidence in Palestine is illegal.

Report of the international fact-finding mission to investigate violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, resulting from the Israeli attacks on the flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian assistance.

UN report: “The conduct of the Israeli military and other personnel towards the flotilla passengers was not only disproportionate to the occasion but demonstrated levels of totally unnecessary and incredible violence. It betrayed an unacceptable level of brutality. Such conduct cannot be justified or condoned on security or any other grounds. It constituted grave violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law.” The panel concluded that there was “clear evidence” of wilful killing, torture or inhuman treatment and wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health – all crimes under the Geneva Convention.

Read the UN Human Rights Council Gaza Flotilla report

Israel is the only Middle East power believed to possess nuclear weapons, but it has never officially confirmed or denied this, opting instead for a policy of ambiguity.

A vague security offence of “contact with a foreign agent” is being used by Israel’s secret police, the Shin Bet, to lock up Arab political activists in Israel without evidence that a crime has been committed, human rights lawyers alleged this week.

Zak Ebrahim: “I came from an extremist background … I was exposed to the things Americans fear most about Islam. But I promote peace. I am not a fanatic. We must embrace tolerance and nonviolence. Who knows this better than the son of a terrorist?”

The basis of the Palestinian claim to nationhood and independence rests on the fact that Israel was established on Palestinian land. But Israel is demanding that Palestinians not only forget but legitimise their own dispossession by accepting the essentially racist claim that Israel is a Jewish state.

World-renowned architect Frank Gehry and the legendary pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim joined the international campaign in support of the Israeli actors’ refusal to perform in the new cultural center of Ariel, according to the website of Jewish Voices for Peace.

Akiva Eldar: Freeze Lieberman

20 September 2010

The demand to suspend settlement building is no excuse [to torpedo direct talks] – it’s as legitimate a position as the Palestinians can have. Why should they relinquish a condition that has the support of the entire world, with the sole exception of Israel?

IOA Editor: Eldar is correct in pointing to the reasonableness of the Palestinian position on the settlement freeze. And his focus on Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman is understandable, even if not entirely logical – Netanyahu, at whose pleasure Lieberman serves, is not terribly different. Most importantly, based on past performance, Eldar’s pointing to Livni as a replacement for Lieberman misses the mark entirely: During Israel’s attack on Gaza, Livni was a leading participant in Israel’s crimes, indistinguishable from the rest. It is doubtful that Livni would move Netanyahu towards a viable peace agreement, as Eldar wishes, because there’s nothing to support the suggestion that either Netanyahu or Livni would be willing “to evacuate most [settlements] permanently.”

Abbas: “The negotiations will continue as long as the settlement (construction) remains frozen, but I am not prepared to negotiate an agreement for a single day more.”

Peace Now’s interactive West Bank settlement activity map and database. Now available also as an iPhone/iPad app.

Dr. Omar Said, the Kafr Kana resident who was released last week after five months in jail, is one of dozens of Israeli Arabs who have been detained over allegations of security and espionage offenses. As in most of these cases, the story opened with massive media coverage and serious suspicions, but ended with a limited indictment – contact with an enemy agent – and a relatively short jail sentence.

“The Local Councils are led by mayors from all over the political spectrum for Israel’s citizens. These kinds of actions only hurt the cause of advancing peace…”

IOA Editor: This would be accurate if you substituted the word “colonization” for the word “peace.”

The Israel Defense Forces continues using the Ruger 10/22 rifle to disperse protests even though it has been prohibited by the military advocate general, a hearing at a military court revealed last week. A brigade’s former operations officer told the court he wasn’t even aware of the prohibition.

Please join us for the launch of the Haymarket Books edition of Midnight on the Mavi Marmara. Panel Discussion with editor Moustafa Bayoumi and contributors Max Blumenthal, Arun Gupta, Adam Horowitz, Rashid Khalidi, Alia Malek and Phil Weiss on the Impact of Gaza Freedom Flotilla Attack.

28 Sept 2010, 7:00pm; Alwan for the Arts – 16 Beaver St. NYC

Sheikh Jarrah Jewish protest organizer: It is designed to produce “a transition from protest to struggle…. We are there to struggle in a subversive way.” The protest organizers are consciously striving to create a conflict between the many “left Zionists” among whom it has become fashionable to attend the weekly demonstrations in Sheikh Jarrah … and the Israeli state apparatus.

Israeli Foreign Ministry: “We will send well-known novelists and writers overseas, theater companies, exhibits… This way you show Israel’s prettier face, so we are not thought of purely in the context of war.” While efforts to promote a positive image of Israel abroad persist, Palestinians continue to suffer from Israeli state policies.

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